Starwood & Accor to invest £2 bln for Dubai project


Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Accor Hotels are in talks with authorities in Dubai to open a £2 billion hotels and offices complex planned for the new Dubai World Trade Centre district.

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the state-owned business and trade body organisation, has started construction work for a 1.1 million sq m site at the heart of Dubai city that will include three hotels, serviced apartments and five or six skyscraper office blocks covering 230,000 sq m.

Jones Lang LaSalle has been hired by DWTC as sole agent to prelet the new offices,The Times has learnt. It is thought that Cluttons and CB Richard Ellis were also bidding for the contract.

One source said that talks with hotel operators for the leisure part of the scheme – larger than the Broadgate complex in the City of London – “are now at the stage of between memorandum of understanding and hotel signings”.

DWTC is understood to be talking to both both Starwood and Accor. “We are talking to very high-end five-star operators,” one source said.

The site, designed by Hopkins Architects, will sit next to the DWTC tower, which was built in 1979, and will extend to land next to Emirates Towers. The leisure component comprises a 600-room three-star hotel, a 450-bed four-star-plus hotel, one 150-bed super-deluxe five-star hotel and 400 serviced apartments known as “hospitality rooms”, according to Helal al-Marri, director-general of DWTC.

The apartments are likely to be sold as a “club concept”, which may involve investors buying into a share of the scheme, which would give them rights to use flats being built elsewhere.

The built-and-let value of the new DWTC complex is expected to be worth about £2 billion, with the developer hoping to make a minimum 20 per cent margin on build costs. The first phase will be completed late next year, it is hoped.

The plans for the DWTC District form only 30 per cent of the area in and around Dubai earmarked for development in the next few years. Outside the central business district, DWTC is also planning a new development dubbed Dubai Exhibition City (DEC), where a 120,000 sq m conference centre will sit amid 20 hotels providing up to 8,000 rooms, warehousing for industries servicing the conferencing business, offices and more flats.

Source : Times Online, UK